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  1. #1
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    How does PA rank with the rest of the states?

    I've been riding for 4 years. I've ridden most of the easter PA trails, as well as DE and Fair Hills in MD. I wonder how these trails rate in terms of technicality and just plane awesomeness when compared to what the rest of America has. What is the identity of PA trails?
    I can't imagine having any more fun then I do at Wissi or Fair Hills or anywhere in Jim Thorpe. This may be a stupid question, but I don't know many riders who have ridden past their backyard. I am a new dad and my time to just go on a bike trek across the states is unlikely. I am a pretty compitent rider and get through French Creek and Wiss pretty easily. I wonder how well I would fair on a different states trail.

  2. #2
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    I've ridden all across the country,Pa has some of the most diverse and challenging terrain in the states.

  3. #3
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    Come up to NEPA and ride Merli, Prompton, Lackawanna State Park, Moosic Mountain and Hubbard and then you can say that you rode, not some of the best, but some of the most elite and diverse trails you'll find anywhere.
    On a scale of 1-10 (1 easiest)
    LSP- 4. Smooth with some roots and can be muddy after a good rain. Not tech, but long with some climbs and really nice decents. You'll need to ride with someone who frequents the park to ride it all. 25 miles approx
    Prompton- 6. This is the ultimate mix of terrain. Smooth, rocky, long gentle climbs long and fast DH, steep climbs, steep decents, tech sections, Pines, hardwoods. It's basically everything we have to offer. One thing that makes Prompton hard is the distance. You're not going to be short of 12 miles at the very least. 16 is more practical and there's prolly around 25 all together.
    Merli- 7. Up hill, Down hill most of the way. Mainly fixed rocks with logovers here and there. 7 mile main loop with 6 side loops. A total of 17 miles currently exist. More ST will be added this summer to get rid of the logging road decent.
    Moosic- 7.5. This is Hubbards and Nepmtba's current project. There's some wild, varying terrain here. Rock slabs, Blueberry bushes, Birch trees, Maples, wetlands, cliffs, ferns, Barrons, hardwood forest, bogs and amazing views describe this area. It's tech cause of the varying terrain. I think we have only 400-500 feet of elevation change, but we'll include that for you.
    Hubbard- 7.5. Climb, climb, climb! Singletrack, hardwoods, rockgardens, man made bridges, skinnies and other fun stuff is the basic Hubbard description. I'd say the hardest bart of Hubbard is going home after a Thursnight ride and feast at The Barn!

    There's the basic's of NEPA. Let me know when you want to ride and what place you'd like to try. I'll show you around! ttyl Fahn

  4. #4
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    the trails out west, at least the high alpine stuff tend to be more buff, smoother, faster, than your typical east coast riding and have amazing views etc. As long as you are not afraid of heights, you would have no problem (other than lack of oxygen) riding the high alpine stuff out west. The more desert riding, moab, gooseberry, sedona, etc is a whole different kind of riding, tends to be more techinical, short steep ups n downs etc but if you are competent at riding techincal east coast, again you would not have a problem, other than trying to keep your eyes on the trails rather than the gorgeous scenery. Not that I don't love the green woods of PA, but the vastness of out west is a whole nother ballgame

  5. #5
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    The Southern California trails I have ridden have been dry and dusty, with loose over hard surfaces. Trees were very sparse and most of the vegetation was scrub-height so you could see for miles. As for the trails, the ups and downs were longer and in general, steeper than most E. PA trails I have ridden, but from a technical level it was much easier in terms of rocks and roots. When you got to the technical sections it was rock-formations more than rock-garden type stuff we have out here. You could also go for 25+ miles without a problem. Long and short of it was I had an easier time on a technical level, but a harder time on an endurance/distance level if that makes sense.

    Ive also had opportunities to ride in Sweden and the terrain there reminded me very much of JT without the strip-mines. Lots of granite and old forest, mixed in with conifer forest and loam. Really enjoyed that riding- we were riding until 11pm regularly and never needed lights!

    So far everywhere I have ridden outside of PA has made me appreciate the 'technical training' PA trails give. I need bigger lungs for other places, but the technical skill set provided by riding in PA has never let me down anywhere else I have ridden.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the info. I desperately want to ride out west, but have not explored PA enough. I have only a few friends that ride and they stick to the novice friendly stuff at White clay and middle run. I'm much more interested in exploring the different terrains and really testing myself. Unfortunatly I usually end up going alone. I'm gald in knowing that my French Creek, Wissahickon hours have given me skill enough to ride other places. Now i just need to get to those other places.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryFahn
    Come up to NEPA and ride Merli, Prompton, Lackawanna State Park, Moosic Mountain and Hubbard and then you can say that you rode, not some of the best, but some of the most elite and diverse trails you'll find anywhere.
    On a scale of 1-10 (1 easiest)
    LSP- 4. Smooth with some roots and can be muddy after a good rain. Not tech, but long with some climbs and really nice decents. You'll need to ride with someone who frequents the park to ride it all. 25 miles approx
    Prompton- 6. This is the ultimate mix of terrain. Smooth, rocky, long gentle climbs long and fast DH, steep climbs, steep decents, tech sections, Pines, hardwoods. It's basically everything we have to offer. One thing that makes Prompton hard is the distance. You're not going to be short of 12 miles at the very least. 16 is more practical and there's prolly around 25 all together.
    Merli- 7. Up hill, Down hill most of the way. Mainly fixed rocks with logovers here and there. 7 mile main loop with 6 side loops. A total of 17 miles currently exist. More ST will be added this summer to get rid of the logging road decent.
    Moosic- 7.5. This is Hubbards and Nepmtba's current project. There's some wild, varying terrain here. Rock slabs, Blueberry bushes, Birch trees, Maples, wetlands, cliffs, ferns, Barrons, hardwood forest, bogs and amazing views describe this area. It's tech cause of the varying terrain. I think we have only 400-500 feet of elevation change, but we'll include that for you.
    Hubbard- 7.5. Climb, climb, climb! Singletrack, hardwoods, rockgardens, man made bridges, skinnies and other fun stuff is the basic Hubbard description. I'd say the hardest bart of Hubbard is going home after a Thursnight ride and feast at The Barn!

    There's the basic's of NEPA. Let me know when you want to ride and what place you'd like to try. I'll show you around! ttyl Fahn

    Definately! I would need to free up a few days though. How far from the Philly area? about 3/12hrs or so?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmba guy
    the trails out west, at least the high alpine stuff tend to be more buff, smoother, faster, than your typical east coast riding and have amazing views etc. As long as you are not afraid of heights, you would have no problem (other than lack of oxygen) riding the high alpine stuff out west.
    Just a thought...


    Wow, talk about painting the "trails out west" with a broad stroke??!! I'm not going to argue with you but rest assured, there are plenty of technical trails "out west". I do agree that "the technical sections it was rock-formations more than rock-garden type stuff" you all deal with. Add big as$ climbs at elevation (8000+ feet) with miles and miles of trails and I'm guessin' the average rider will have all he or she wants. Are there "buff, smoother and faster" trails at altitude, yeah but again you make it sound pretty tame, laughs.

    I went to school in western PA, FWIW.
    Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
    Where we should go,
    We just ride...

  9. #9
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    i havent been out west but ive biked pretty extensively through fl, ga, sc, nc, va
    ive also been up to nh and vt
    i think pa has some really good riding. the difference is often times in how well the trails are signed and maintained. many of the trails i ride in pa are really good once youve gotten lost 5 times and learn your way around. many of the trails in other locations have much more active trail building groups with funding for maintaining the trails and signage.
    great riding at raccoon mtn in chattanooga if you are ever down there.
    also north ga has some great spots.

  10. #10
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    I have not ridden in PA yet, but, I am moving there this August. Right now most of my riding is on the front range of Colorado. I would have to say that there is a decent amount of diversity here. You can find rock gardens, single track, creek crossings, and long long long climbs that will test your lungs I ll have to say though that I am looking forward to doing some riding in PA
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  11. #11
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    definitely painted the west with broad strokes, for sure. I never said it was easy, just somewhat different than riding in PA for the most part. I would say that if you can ride well in the rocky stuff in PA that, assuming you have the stamina, you can ride most stuff out west, save the northshore crazy stuff. but having the stamina to do the endless climbs at altitude is a whole nother story. The long downhills out there are also very taxing on the body, something that we never really run into here.

  12. #12
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    well one nice thing about PA is that we generally have a longer riding season than CO, although I think in the front range you can find some lower stuff to ride longer than more out in the mountains. let us know where you are moving to and im sure we can hook you up with good riding in your area as well as give you the low down on stuff a little further out

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdarnall237
    Definately! I would need to free up a few days though. How far from the Philly area? about 3/12hrs or so?
    2 hrs or less from Philly! If you're interested in coming up, do it on a Thursnight and ride with the Hubbard group! THIS IS MANDATORY! Ok, maybe not, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it! I'll send you a PM. Ttyl, Fahn

  14. #14
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    I'm not sure any riding portfolio is complete without a pilgrimage to the mecca of Moab. No, it's not smoothest singletrack in the world, or the most long winded abuse. But it's the closest you'll ever get to biking on Mars, and the views are pretty incomparable.

    Having lived in the East and the West, I'd say both areas have great hidden gems that require some time getting used to. Eastern PA has some really excellent riding and some super strong trail advocacy. That equals lots of trails and lots of exploration.

    Having lived in CO and now UT, I'd say that you get a lot more sustained punishment and pleasure out here than you do in PA. The climbs and descents are longer and have better views attached. Not that certain parts of eastern PA aren't beautiful, but I'm pretty sure they fail to challenge the complete serenity of the high Rockies and Wasatch Front. Of course, that's all IMHO

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmba guy
    well one nice thing about PA is that we generally have a longer riding season than CO, although I think in the front range you can find some lower stuff to ride longer than more out in the mountains. let us know where you are moving to and im sure we can hook you up with good riding in your area as well as give you the low down on stuff a little further out
    I should be ther either the 1st week or 2nd week of August. I will be moving to the Pittsburgh area and I am willing to drive 2-3 hours for a good ride
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  16. #16
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    I just got back from 4 days in NM. I love PA riding but the west is different. The biggest difference is the opportunity for huge amounts of elevation change. One day we opened with a 9 mile climb (7.5 miles fireroad to 1.5 miles of singletrack switchbacks) and closed with a 6 mile singletrack downhill. As far as being more or less technical, I think the PA stuff tends to be more tight and twisty and has more downed trees. That said, the huge scab on my left arm is testament to how technical western trails can be.

    FTR, I've ridden in NM, AZ and CO in the western mountain states and a bunch of other east and west coast states. I've done 2 trips to Arizona and I have to say it's my hands down favorite. Huge diversity and numbers of trails, many relatively close to civilization and I've just ridden Prescott, around Phoenix, Tuscon and points in between.

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